California Prepares for Large-Scale Earthquake

Oct. 17, 2009 marked the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. On this date, Miramonte and 7-10 million Californians practiced their school’s earthquake drills.

Miramonte’s administration has revised multiple plans in order to perfect the school’s safety procedure in case of an earthquake.

“We have been working for three years,” said Associate Principal Sharron Bartlet. “And we modify every year to find out what improvements will make our plan the best for Miramonte.”

In case of a large earthquake, Miramonte and the rest of the Orinda community will benefit from a variety of earthquake and safety experts that live and work here.  There are multiple CERT (Certified Emergency Response Training) members at Miramonte, as well as earthquake and building safety experts on campus.  The emergency- trained sports medicine class will give their aid.

Miramonte’s revised emergency response plan now includes the participation of John Grigsby’s sports medicine class. Grigsby’s class spent a week and a half practicing splinting, back boarding, and other safety procedures with a limited supply of resources.

“I feel like I could really make a difference in a life or death situation from my training with John ‘The Trainer’ Grigsby,” said junior Chris Thatcher.

During the earthquake drill, the sports medicine “rescuers” went through their strategically planned routes through the school with walkie-talkies in search of the “injured students.” The “injured students,” a random selection of students left behind in classrooms, were then medically assessed and taken to the makeshift medical station either before or after being treated.

“I had to use a cardboard box splint for his leg, a plastic tripod cover for his arm, and I used a chair from the video production room for a wheel chair,” said Thatcher, describing his rescue of sophomore Trevor Rechnitz.

In the case of an earthquake, students are advised to duck and cover far away from the windows, and if possible under a strong structure, such as a desk or table. After the earthquake has subsided, students must make their way to the football field to find their third period teacher for roll. Although Miramonte’s students are only expected to follow the safety procedure, Administrators are looking to extend the safety enforcement to students, in an optional CERT training program.